Categorized | Regional

Caricom Summit Antigua threatens sanctions against United States

Jamaica, CMC – Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer Monday said that Antigua and Barbuda would seek sanctions against the United States if Washington continues to thwart efforts at finding a negotiated solution to its dispute over Internet Gaming Services.

Spencer said that his island had sought unsuccessfully since the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling in 2007 to secure a negotiated settlement with the United States and would now seek an early meeting with President Barack Obama on the issue.

“Antigua and Barbuda is concerned that the negotiations are being protracted, with no potential end in sight. In light of the obvious unwillingness of the United States to reach a negotiated settlement that takes into account the contribution of the sector to the economic well-being of Antigua and Barbuda, we have brought the matter before the Conference of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, which has supported Antigua and Barbuda’s position on this matter from the inception”.

Spencer said he hoping to secure “firm regional support to call upon the United States, a hemispheric partner, once and for all, to settle this outstanding matter” dating back to 2007.

He said that CARICOM has the authority to act in unison to protect the interest of member states and that it should utilize “all at its disposal to facilitate settlement of this matter.

“In the absence of a resolution, the economy of Antigua and Barbuda is suffering. There has been a dramatic decline in the sector, significant increase in unemployment as a result, stakeholders, business operators are suffering and many have left our shores for other parts because of this elusive settlement,” Spencer told a news conference.

He said that while his country has the right to impose sanctions upon Washington in keeping with the WTO rules “we remain committed to exhausting all possibilities for a negotiated settlement.

“Nevertheless, given the debilitating impact of the fiscal and economic crisis on our economy and the apparent disinterest of the United States in dealing decisively with this matter, Antigua and Barbuda may have no other alternative but to signal to the WTO that we wish to impose sanctions. We are fast running out of options,” Spencer said.

Spencer said he did not believe that his country’s membership in the Venezuela-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) was a reason behind Washington’s hardened position, telling reporters that during the Prime Ministerial Sub Committee on External Negotiations, “the Internet gaming case was cited as a clear example of the difficulties small countries encounter in getting justice from WTO rulings in their favour.

“Clearly there is need for urgent reform of the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism especially relating to enforcement of its rulings. There must be one rule for all countries, small and large, since we are living in a rules-based world.”

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Jamaica, CMC – Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer Monday said that Antigua and Barbuda would seek sanctions against the United States if Washington continues to thwart efforts at finding a negotiated solution to its dispute over Internet Gaming Services.

Spencer said that his island had sought unsuccessfully since the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling in 2007 to secure a negotiated settlement with the United States and would now seek an early meeting with President Barack Obama on the issue.

“Antigua and Barbuda is concerned that the negotiations are being protracted, with no potential end in sight. In light of the obvious unwillingness of the United States to reach a negotiated settlement that takes into account the contribution of the sector to the economic well-being of Antigua and Barbuda, we have brought the matter before the Conference of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, which has supported Antigua and Barbuda’s position on this matter from the inception”.

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Spencer said he hoping to secure “firm regional support to call upon the United States, a hemispheric partner, once and for all, to settle this outstanding matter” dating back to 2007.

He said that CARICOM has the authority to act in unison to protect the interest of member states and that it should utilize “all at its disposal to facilitate settlement of this matter.

“In the absence of a resolution, the economy of Antigua and Barbuda is suffering. There has been a dramatic decline in the sector, significant increase in unemployment as a result, stakeholders, business operators are suffering and many have left our shores for other parts because of this elusive settlement,” Spencer told a news conference.

He said that while his country has the right to impose sanctions upon Washington in keeping with the WTO rules “we remain committed to exhausting all possibilities for a negotiated settlement.

“Nevertheless, given the debilitating impact of the fiscal and economic crisis on our economy and the apparent disinterest of the United States in dealing decisively with this matter, Antigua and Barbuda may have no other alternative but to signal to the WTO that we wish to impose sanctions. We are fast running out of options,” Spencer said.

Spencer said he did not believe that his country’s membership in the Venezuela-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) was a reason behind Washington’s hardened position, telling reporters that during the Prime Ministerial Sub Committee on External Negotiations, “the Internet gaming case was cited as a clear example of the difficulties small countries encounter in getting justice from WTO rulings in their favour.

“Clearly there is need for urgent reform of the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism especially relating to enforcement of its rulings. There must be one rule for all countries, small and large, since we are living in a rules-based world.”